A new identity theft scheme may target your child’s Social Security number, but con artists don’t have to resort to entirely new tactics to execute a successful scam.
“Thieves are very crafty these days,” Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist Denise Richardson says. “They keep updating old scams with new twists.”
As such, it’s always good to brush up the basics. To help you avoid becoming a victim, MainStreet rounded up the most popular scams many Americans can’t seem to avoid.
Counterfeit Cashier’s Check Scam
A cashier’s check is a scammer's favorite form of currency. For starters, it’s hard to trace a cashier’s check or money order to its source. Second, banks identify fraudulent copies less easily than counterfeit cash. In fact, most take seven to 10 business days to determine whether a cashier’s check or money order is actually legitimate. This wouldn’t be a problem if many banks didn’t provisionally clear most cashier’s checks 24 hours after they’re deposited.
Scammers try to capitalize on this discrepancy in a variety of ways, but a popular modus operandi is using a cashier’s check to purchase high-priced items online from sites like Craigslist or eBay. Unwitting sellers cash the counterfeit and, believing it has cleared, send the goods. Days later, the check effectively bounces, turning the auctioned items into stolen property.